Monday October 23 2017, Daily News Digest

Mosaic

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi discussed acquisition with Schwab. Victory Park Capital dumps Avant loans, moves away from MPL. Banco BNI Europa partners with Parcela Já on payments solution. Skystar Capital to raise third fund in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Mosaic prices, Nelnet, and Avant. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Asian stocks outpace U.S. since Alibaba IPO. When payday loans […]

Mosaic

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Chin

European Union

International

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi held talks for possible $ 8bn sale this year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi, the highly valued online lender, explored a sale earlier this year, holding talks with companies including Schwab, the San Francisco-based broker, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale discussions at SoFi, which has since been rocked by sexual harassment allegations, were triggered by an indicative offer of $6bn from a foreign bank, according to two people familiar with the matter. That offer came soon after SoFi raised $500m in a fundraising round led by Silver Lake, which valued it at more than $4bn.

After the initial approach, SoFi held talks with other possible acquirers with a targeted price of $8bn-$10bn. Several US companies, including Schwab, discussed a possible deal but none matched the desired price. SoFi decided to wait for an initial public offering, tentatively scheduled for 2019.

Mosaic Prices, Nelnet Acquires Great Lakes, FinTech Financings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week, Mosaic priced MSAIC 2017-2, their second solar ABS. The deal was heavily oversubscribed, with over $1.7 Bn in orders for a $307.5 Mn deal.

On Thursday, Nelnet announced it would acquire Great Lakes Education Loan Services for $150 Mn in cash.

In other securitization news this week Avant filed ABS 15-G for is AVNT 2017-B deal. KBRA assigned preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-B (“AVNT 2017-B”). The transaction is a $232.648 Mn consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on October 31, 2017. We took a close look at Avant’s first deal of 2017 in a prior newsletter.

Mosaic Background
With over $1.1 Bn loans funded, Mosaic maintains a proprietary origination channel consisting of a high-quality network of approved solar installers. These installers are carefully screened as Mosaic must rely on these partners to refer quality borrowers because the loans are secured by the installed solar systems.

Last month, Mosaic inked a deal with Goldman Sachs for a $300 Mn forward purchase agreement. In addition to the ~$450 Mn the company has raised through securitizations, other significant sources of financing include a $220 Mn series C equity raise led by Warburg Pincus in 2016 and $650 Mn in warehouse commitments from a diverse mix of banks.

Source: PeerIQ

Asian Companies Sell Most Stock in U.S. Since Alibaba’s IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fifteen Asian companies have raised $3.2 billion in U.S.-listed IPOs and seen their shares climb 46 percent since their listings this year, according to weighted-average share price data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to an 11 percent climb for the 105 U.S. businesses that listed domestically and raised a combined $23.6 billion.

Combined with other listings, those three have put October on track to be the biggest month of the year for U.S. IPOs. The $29 billion raised in 2017 has already outpaced the $15.2 billion in stock offered by new U.S.-listed companies through this time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The 13 Asian companies that raised a combined $1 billion in 2015 are up 117 percent, beating the 19 percent rise for U.S.-based companies that had domestic listings that year. In 2014, 20 Asian companies including Alibaba raised a combined $30 billion. Those stocks are up 152 percent on average. The $50 billion in U.S.-based companies’ shares sold that year have climbed only 35 percent.

When Payday Loans Die, Something Else Is Going to Replace Them (The Atlantic), Rated: AAA

But the regulations will do little to address the other side of the problem: consumers’ demand for small, fast, easy-to-obtain loans. Solving that problem, while ensuring that new predatory loans options don’t pop up, will fall to the financial industry and state legislators—who’ve struggled in the past to protect financially vulnerable Americans.

Some of those options are already out there, and won’t be covered by the CFPB’s new rule, says Nick Bourke, the director of the consumer-finance program at Pew Charitable Trusts. According to Bourke, many of the same payday and auto-title lenders that will be shelving shorter-term loans ahead of the CFPB’s onerous new rules already have other loan options available. And they’re available in about half of all states.

To prevent that, Bourke says, states could mandate that small and installment loan options include affordable repayment structures, reasonable repayment times, and lower fees. That’s an option that has already been implemented in some states such as Colorado, and one that might work elsewhere.

There are few places for poor, underbanked Americans to turn when they’re in need of a couple hundred dollars in a pinch. In the past, many traditional banks have said that the risk and cost of underwriting small-dollar loans simply isn’t worth it: Small loans, coupled with borrowers with low incomes and spotty or nonexistent credit history, don’t really appeal to large, profit-seeking banks.

One of the main alternatives provided by credit unions is the Payday Alternative Loan—which allows federally backed credit unions to provide their members with small loans in amounts ranging from $200 to $1,000, with repayment terms of one to six months. But when you compare the accessibility of PAL loans to the demand for payday products, it’s clear that they can’t meet the need. In 2016, only about 20 percent of the country’s fewer than 4,000 federal credit unions offered the loans. And to get one, a borrower must be a member of a credit union for at least a month, and sometimes complete a financial-education requirement in order to fulfill a loan application. That’s an imperfect swap for many of the 12 million Americans who use payday loans each year to receive an instant cash infusion.

How Often Do Mortgage Lenders Follow-Up via Calls And E-mails? (Tenfold), Rated: A

I conducted a study where I applied for home loans with nine different lenders and then tracked their follow-up attempts over two weeks. During this time, I also did not respond to their follow-up calls and e-mails.

  • Over the course of two weeks, Quicken Loans made the most follow-up attempts. 18 to be exact.
  • Lenders at Citigroup came second with 17 follow-up attempts.
  • loanDepot, in third place, attempted 13 follow-ups.
  • During the same period, Chase Mortgage and PennyMac Loan Services tied for fourth with 11 follow-up attempts.
  • Sales reps at Bank of America only followed-up on the home loan application five times.
  • U.S. Bancorp followed-up twice, and CapitalOne and HSBC Mortgage Services tied for last with just a single follow-up attempt.
Source: Tenfold
Source: Tenfold

Varo Money Announces New Product Features to Help Customers Save More Money (Varo Money Email), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans brings banks back to SBA lending (Biz Journals), Rated: A

The company, which offers an online Small Business Administration loan marketplace, was the top facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 in fiscal 2016.

As S&P Global Ratings noticed collateral performance in the U.S. subprime auto loan asset-backed securities (ABS) market deteriorated moderately on a sequential basis in August, Davis & Gilbert’s Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights & Financial Products Practice Group fears investors could be in for a surprise if that market segment makes a more notable move.

S&P Global Ratings indicated the subprime net loss rate increased to 7.95 percent in August 2017 from 7.38 percent in July but decreased year-over-year from 8.35 percent.

Between August of last year and the same month this year, analysts noted about 35 new deals with a total collateral amount of approximately $17 billion were added to their index. These additions pushed the outstanding collateral amount up to approximately $35.6 billion compared to $32.0 billion a year earlier.

Fundera Report: The Traditional SME Lending Process Pretty Much Sucks (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundera, an online lending comparison site, has partnered with Oliver Wyman on a report about SME lending. Entitled, “Great Expectations: Improving the loan application process for small business borrowers, the document effectively labels the traditional borrowing process as broken.

On the flip side, banks still have an advantage in a lower cost of capital so if you can suffer through the frustration you loan (if ever approved) may come at a lower cost.

So what is the big takeaway from all of this?

The report explains that alternative lenders have a higher cost of capital because they lack access to low cost deposits that banks and credit unions use to fund their loans. The average cost of funds for a bank is around 0.06%. In comparison, OnDeck reported a cost of funds in Q1 2017 of 5.9%.

This App Will Loan You $ 75 Interest Free to Avoid Overdraft Fees (Lifehacker), Rated: A

Another solid solution: Dave. Not your buddy from college, the app.

Once it’s tied to your bank account (using the same military-grade 128-bit SSL encryption technology used by big banks), the app will monitor your finances and reoccurring expenses and then let you know when you’re running at risk of overdrafting your account.

Within the app you can ask to borrow $25, $50, or $75 to get you through until your next paycheck comes. Loans are free, but when you pay them back you’re given the option to leave a 5-15% tip. For every % of tip you give, the app will plant a tree.

Using the app costs $1 per month.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Firm Targets Institutional Investors (InstitionalInvestor.com), Rated: A

First RealFund will offer property investments in high-growth neighborhoods such as Brooklyn.

The New York-based firm will provide short-term real-estate investments in high-growth neighborhoods, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Dan Drew. First RealFund will offer opportunities to co-invest alongside the firm in residential and commercial real-estate deals.

He projects returns of 12 percent to 24 percent on investments lasting one to three years.

First RealFund has a $5 million pipeline of deals and plans to co-invest $100,000 in each of its first two offerings, according to Drew. He said investors can allocate between $500,000 and $3 million in each of the real estate assets offered by First RealFund.

Rory Eakin of CircleUp (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The circuitous route Rory took through South Africa before founding CircleUp.
  • The huge untapped opportunity that Rory and his co-founder discovered.
  • Some examples of consumer goods companies that have raised capital on CircleUp.
  • How they approach the due diligence process.
  • How and why they are tracking 1.2 million companies in the consumer sector.
  • Why building their own data analysis tools has been a key ingredient in their success.
  • The typical size of the companies that are raising money and the typical equity rounds.
  • The number of companies that have raised money on the platform.
  • The average revenue CAGR for those companies.
  • Their current mix of investors and the average investment on the platform.
  • Why they decided to launch a loan product earlier this year.
  • The typical loan terms they are offering.
  • Who is providing the capital for their loan product.
  • Why they remain focused on the consumer goods vertical for this loan product.
  • What the future holds for CircleUp.

OneMain Increases eSignLive E-Signatures Roll-Out to 1,700 Branches (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

VASCO Data Security International, Inc. today announced that longtime customer OneMain Financial, the largest responsible personal loan company in the U.S., has extended its use of eSignLive e-signatures for loan applications to more than 1,700 U.S. branches in 44 states. The lender has seen 99 percent adoption of the technology, which translates into an annual savings of approximately 500,000 administrative hours and $500,000 in toner costs alone, and enables OneMain to deliver an omni channel experience to improve the customer experience while reducing in-branch costs.

OneMain selected eSignLive in 2012 to enable virtual personal lending, including unsecured loans across online and call center channels.

Real Estate Crowdfunders Turn to Auto-Invest (Patch of Land), Rated: A

Automatic investment tools are gaining traction with real estate crowdfunding platforms as a way for investors to obtain greater access to transactions that meet their investing criteria.

The benefits of automatic investing to the real estate investor are multifold:

  1. It levels the playing field.
  2. It improves flexibility.
  3. It may allow for higher investments.
  4. It increases portfolio diversity. 
  5. Investors gain access even when demand is high.

How auto investing helps lenders

While the multiple benefits of automatic investing are fairly obvious to investors, real estate crowdfunding lenders stand to benefit as well. Using data gathered from investor parameters selected in a respective platform’s auto invest feature, the lender is able to see if a loan will fully fund or by what percentage it will fund before the loan documents are ever signed or approved.

This data helps determine whether an appetite exists on a particular real estate crowdfunding platform for a specific loan. If there’s a huge appetite for a particular loan type, then more of those types of loans may be offered.

Lenders who have built-out this type of auto-investing technology in an intelligent way will have an audit history to see how investing parameters have changed over time, which will help to make smarter lending decisions now and into the future.

Lenders, armed with auto-investing data, will be able to draw trend lines on how investors are or are not changing their investing parameters.

This could mean making a decision to deny a loan application because “crowd” investors have no appetite to fund it while prioritizing another loan through the approval and funding process because of high demand from investors.

Fears of commercially owned banks are unfounded: OCC’s Noreika (American Banker), Rated: A

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika on Thursday pushed back against concerns that his agency’s proposed fintech charter will unduly benefit nonfinancial firms.

Why Fintechs Want More Access to State Banking Regulators (Law.com), Rated: A

This week, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced more than 30 companieswill participate in its newly formed Fintech Industry Advisory Panel. The panel is part of the CSBS’s Vision 2020 initiative, which seeks to “modernize state regulation of non-banks, including financial technology firms.”

At financial startup Social Finance Inc. (SoFi), general counsel Rob Lavet, who oversees compliance professionals and is used to interacting with state and federal regulators, will be the one to serve on the panel. Kabbage’s head of global privacy, Sam Taussig, will represent the Atlanta-based small-business lending company.

Some companies have chosen other executives to participate in the regulatory conversation. At CommonBond, for instance, CEO and co-founder David Klein will represent the student loan company.

Judge OKs LendingClub Investor Class, Competing State Suit (Law360), Rated: B

Investors in LendingClub Corp. who accused the online lender of stock fraud were recognized as a class in California federal court on Friday, but the judge allowed a competing state-court case to advance despite his skepticism that it would result in a better outcome for investors.

Payments M&A, deals and financings all happened (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: B

First Data accidentally let it slip that it was thinking about buying payments processing partner BluePay and 

Lendio Joins Innovative Lending Platform Association (OnDeck), Rated: B

The Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), consisting of the nation’s leading online small business lending platforms, today announced that small business platform Lendio has joined the trade organization as an associate member. Lendio will work with other ILPA members to advance online small business lending education, advocacy, and best practices.

United Kingdom

VPC offloads Avant loans as part of shift from marketplace lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments has offloaded the majority of its loans from US personal loans platform Avant.

The alternative lending investment trust said in a portfolio update on Monday that the move is part of its strategy of shifting from marketplace to balance sheet lending.

The investments sold represent 7.6 per cent of the company’s net asset value as at 31 August 2017.

Why investing in your neighbour is the new finance revolution and Cornwall’s leading it (CornwallLive), Rated: A

Crowd sourced funding has transformed the way we do business, whipping up a sense of entrepreneurship and encouraging all of us to think about investing more locally.

According to SWIG Finance which has a base in Truro, more than £10billion has been loaned to UK businesses and consumers by the alternative finance sector as a whole since 2005.

Crowdfunder’s growth has been meteoric with 25,000 members joining the platform every month and raising some £2m a month for UK projects.

ThinCats Expands in Midlands By Appointing Ravi Bagri As New Origination Manager (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform ThinCats announced on Friday it has appointed Ravi Bagri as its new Origination Manager, who will cover the Midlands region. According to the online lender, Bagri is considered one of the most well-established names in the Midlands finance sector and has nearly 30 years of experience in retail and commercial banking.

Debt collector Cabot plans to float on London Stock Exchange (Financial Times), Rated: B

Cabot has also appointed Andy Haste, chairman of payday lender Wonga, as independent chairman-elect, to help oversee the debt management group’s transition to a public company.

China

Third-quarter funding for China’s fintech hits a speed bump as state tightened reins on capital outflow (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Total funding raised by China’s venture capital-backed financial technology start-ups fell to US$800 million across 26 deals between July and September, a drop of 27 per cent from last year, as the central government kept a tight rein on capital outflows from this sector.

That amount was down from US$1.1 billion in the same period last year and below the US$1 billion recorded in the quarter to June, according to a recent online briefing by Lindsay Davis, an intelligence analyst at venture capital research firm CB Insights.

Davis said deal activity of mainland fintech start-ups in the third quarter dropped 19 per cent from 32 transactions recorded in the second quarter.

Dianrong, the Shanghai-based operator of a popular online lending marketplace, recorded the region’s largest fintech deal last quarter – a US$220 million Series D funding round led by China Minsheng Investment, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and South Korean private equity firm Simone Investment Managers.

That was followed by the US$200 million Series C financing round of Shenzhen Suishou Technology, which runs a personal finance management platform on the mainland. Its investors included Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Fosun International, global investment firm KKR & Co, Sequoia Capital China and Beijing-based venture capital company Source Code Capital.

Source: SCMP
European Union

BANCO BNI EUROPA AND PARCELA JÁ SIGN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO LAUNCH SOLUTION FOR PAYMENT OF PURCHASES (Global Bnking & Finance), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa and Parcela Já, Portuguese Fintech, have entered into a partnership to launch an innovative solution for the Portuguese market, which aims to enable any retailer to offer its customers the instalment of any purchase without costs to the consumer.

This product is open to all consumers with a credit card. To benefit from this service, the final customer will only have to make the purchase with his usual credit card, deciding at the terminal, at the time of purchase, the instalment he intends to make, between 2 and 12.

PayKey Launches Smart Mobile Payments Keyboard (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup PayKey, which offers a smartphone keyboard designed for millennial banking customers, has raised $10 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $16 million.

According to news from TechCrunch, this latest round was led by MizMaa Ventures, with participation from other investors that include SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank’s financial tech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and Fintech71.

PSD2 signals a return to relationship banking, says Temenos (AltFi), Rated: A

Jeroen Broekema, online lender Funding Circle’s lead in the Netherlands, recently told us that PSD2 “has the potential to be a game-changer”, but that its success in the short-term will depend on the willingness of the big banks to engage.

Temenos is a software provider to banks and other financial services firms, helping them to keep pace with a rapidly changing market. It’s the fourth largest software company in Europe, with profits of over $185m and a market capitalisation of more than $5bn. (Clearly, selling technology to banks is big business.)

ENEMY TURNED INTO BROTHER: CRYPROCURRENCIES AND BANKS TO INTEGRATE IN JUST ONE YEAR (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Two factions have formed on their own – people who stay loyal to banks and observe the cryptocurrency market from afar, only dreaming about 30–60% p.a. deposit rates. And then there are those who have switched over to cryptocurrencies and are happy with the state of things but shudder every time they hear about the latest hacking of cryptocurrency wallets. Why make this choice? The market needs a service at the intersection of these factions.

We are finally solving the issue of debit card linkage to cryptocurrency wallets. About 10 companies promise to issue their Master Card or VISA cards – all to no avail… Our marketplace will solve the problem of online lending, including p2p lending, as well as deposits in cryptocurrency assets. Sure, the market may offer similar services, however only Narbonne has the team with that much experience in finance.

Many microfinance companies like to mention that 2–3 billion people are currently unable to get a loan in a bank.

International

The ECN Updates Review of Crowdfunding Regulation in the EU, Israel & the USA (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On October 20, at its 6th Convention in Vilnius, Lithuania, the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), the European association of alternative finance platforms, released its Third Edition of the Review of Existing Regulations of crowdfunding and related alternative financing in the 28 countries of Europe, as well as in North America and Israel.

The 720-page long report was written by local offices of law firms in each country coordinated by international law firm Osborne Clarke under the direction of Tanja Aschenbeck-Florange and her colleague Thorge Drefke.

In response to the new alternative financing models, some 11 EU countries have implemented national level regulations for securities-based and lending-based crowdfunding:

Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and The United Kingdom.

A few other countries, such as Romania and Ireland, are preparing to issue such crowd-funding-specific regulations.

The result of this lack of regulatory harmonization is a market fragmentation which clearly hampers the development of the industry.

A Call for Action

The aim of the report, in addition to providing a reference document for the platforms and their partners, is to present the European and national regulators and legislators with a clear picture of the fragmented regulatory landscape and to suggest directions for improvements inspired from the best practices observed in each country.

Sovereign funds’ corporate deals halve in Q3, Asians stay active (The Star), Rated: A

The value of corporate deals with sovereign wealth fund (SWF) participation halved in the third quarter as oil-driven funds continued to take a back seat.

GIC participated in the top three deals, the largest being a US$6.4bil offer for Danish payments processor Nets by newly-formed company Evergood 5. The deal was backed by a consortium that included GIC, led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

The second largest was the US$1.6bil acquisition of Hong Kong-based insurer MassMutual Asia by another investor group that included GIC.

GIC also led a US$220mil funding round for Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong.

Fintech startup, Trade Ledger, launches world-first tech to help banks fight off global tech giants (Business Insider), Rated: A

Career technologists, Martin McCann and Dr. Matthias Born, are launching a world-first lending tech for banks and traditional lenders that will help to equip them against competition from tech giants such as Facebook, Tencent, and eBay wanting to enter financial services.

Trade Ledger is the world’s first business lending platform that transforms digital data from business supply chains in real time, allowing banks to assess and regularly update credit and default risk of businesses they lend to. Currently this is only done on a one-off or infrequent basis on a very small sample of invoices, and not on any other trade documents.

How Cryptocurrency Loans Are Reinventing Credit (International Business Times), Rated: A

The blockchain nonprofit Celsius, headquartered in New York, now has an initial coin offering to fund the launch of its beta loan platform for Americans in January.

One of the biggest barriers for taking out a loan is credit worthiness. The traditional way banks and lenders assess credit is widely considered outdated in the modern economy.

Users will download the app and log in through Facebook or LinkedIn to authenticate their identities. Ebay or Amazon sellers can upload their transaction histories to show their reliability. Borrowers can even have a guarantor, say a friend anywhere in the world with a cryptocurrency wallet, put up her digital assets to boost your Celsius credit limit.

Borrowers receive their credit in dollars even though lenders are giving them ether.

The plan is to eventually go global. Meanwhile, a Buenos Aires-based startup called the Ripio Credit Network will soon offer similar cryptocurrency services in Latin America. Ripio will focus on short-term microloans, ranging in value from $20 to $2,000. Ripio founder and CEO Sebastian Serrano told IBT the bitcoin wallet platform already has 140,000 users, mostly in Argentina and Brazil.

According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people still doesn’t have any type of bank account.

Like Nubank in Brazil and the fintech startup Tala in Africa and Asia, Ripio will also use cellphone data to help bolster the user’s credit score.

NerdWallet reported the average credit card rate was around 12.3 percent in 2016, accounting for inflation.

Salt has a KeepKey hardware wallet and a digital lending platform set to launch near the end of this year, altogether bringing in more than $45 million in revenue thanks to 25,0000 users.

The Cambridge study estimated there are between 5.8 to 11.5 million active cryptocurrency wallets worldwide.

India

How alternative financial services ecosystem has become big boon for India (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

J Venkatesh had always wanted to gift his college-going daughter a phone. But the machine operator, who works in a tobacco-manufacturing unit in Secunderabad, could never save enough money to buy a smartphone. Though he had a savings account in a large nationalised bank, he wasn’t able to procure a personal loan due to poor credit score. That’s when Home Credit India, a consumer finance provider, came into the picture. Last year, the company gave Venkatesh a small-ticket loan of Rs 10,000 to buy a smartphone. The small-ticket loan boosted his credit score, following which he was able to avail two personal loans of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 73,000 within a gap of less than six months between the two loans.

“With less than 20 million consumers in this country having credit cards and 70% of the formal consumer credit availed by only 24 million households, the opportunity for fintechs is immense,” says Lizzie Chapman, co-founder and CEO, ZestMoney, a fintech firm. At ZestMoney, the ticket size of loans ranges from Rs 3,000 to Rs 3 lakh. “But our sweet spot is in the Rs 20,000-Rs 50,000 space. These are purchases that are too small to warrant taking a personal loan for, but too big to put in one lumpsum for most people,” Chapman adds.

Today, nearly one-third of the customers availing loans through these financial institutions are new to credit.

As per data released in 2016 from the finance ministry, only 28-32% of Indians have access to financial institutions, including post offices and banks.

Online lending startups thrive as banks with bad loans become cautious (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Online lending start-ups such as Faircent, Wishfin and Loantap as well as large e-commerce firms are helping expand consumer credit at a time when banks burdened by bad loans have become cautious about lending.

Personal loans advanced by banks grew 15.7% in August, slower than the 18.1% growth that the segment reported a year ago, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data.

Faircent (Fairassets Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is now processing around 300 loans per month, with an average loan size of Rs1.5 lakh on a monthly basis, compared with 130 loans given in November and December last year.

Wishfin (Mywish Marketplaces Pvt. Ltd), a company which aggregates loan and credit products from banks, has also experienced a huge increase in loans after demonetisation. The firm claims to get around 300,000 applications every month for various financial and credit products, up 2.75 times from a year ago.

LazyPay (owned by PayU) and Simpl (owned by Get Simpl Technologies Pvt. Ltd) also provide a buy-now, pay-later option to customers on their platforms by tying up with online vendors.

Loantap (LoanTap Financial Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is one such platform that provides instant finance to salaried consumers. It has categorized loans for specific-use cases including weddings, holidays, car/bike loans and credit card re-financing, among others.

Now, a safer marketplace for loans (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

If you want to raise money quickly for business or personal use, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform has now become more transparent and safer. The RBI last week laid down directions that bring more credibility to the online platform.What is it ?A P2P lending platform brings lenders and borrowers together.

FundPitch to cater to SMEs (The Hindu), Rated: B

While Bodhtree Consulting Limited will launch its operations in the Fintech Valley-Vizag within a few days, two other companies Lycos Internet Ltd (erstwhile Ybrant Digitals) and Kissht will also invest in the city.

The three companies have given the commitment to start their operations in Fintech Valley-Vizag with a total job opportunity for 600.

Besides Bodhtree, its subsidiary FundPitch would also facilitate funding for SMEs — a long needed requirement for innovative entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh — J.A. Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to Chief Minister, told The Hindu.

Asia

Indonesia’s Skystar Capital to raise third fund in 2018, to target late-stage funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Indonesian early-stage venture capital firm Skystar Capital is expected to hit the fundraising course for its third fund by the second half of next year, a top executive told DEALSTREETASIA.

The VC is now deploying its second fund – which it closed mid-2016 – with check sizes ranging between $100,000 and $1 million. It plans to start the fundraising process when it has utilized at least 50-60 per cent of the current fund.

Lifestyle inflation could be the reason you’re struggling (The Star), Rated: A

WHAT is lifestyle inflation? Quite simply it’s when you increase your spending when your income level goes up, for instance, each time you get a salary increment. It’s a simple idea that when you make more, you spend more.

But aside from that, did you know the Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF) has reported that the average salary increase in 2017 is estimated at 5.3% for executives and 5.43% for non-executives.

Inflation is floating between 3.6% to 3.9%, that only gives you a salary increase of 1%-2%.

Propelling Singaporean SMEs to greater heights with fintech (SBR.com.sg), Rated: A

According to the January 2017 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social Singapore, there are currently 644.1 million people in Southeast Asia. Of which, 53% are internet users making the region ripe for growth and expansion for Fintech adoption.

Paired with the Smart Financial Centre, with funding of $225 million, this has reduced the barriers to entry for fledgling startups and SMEs.

Payments
As a sector that contributes between 23 and 58 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the region’s various countries, many transactions arise from SMEs. These may include the use of paper money or cheques, processes that are labour-intensive and time-consuming. However, with the rise of payment services like Omise in Thailand, M_Service in Vietnam, and Doku in Indonesia, SMEs can now reach customers without credit cards to transact on an e-commerce platform.

In Singapore, the introduction of PayNow, a payment service that allows transactions to be made to the user’s mobile number on mobile banking apps, has made banking transactions more convenient than ever.

Lending & Financing
Whilst SMEs are key to driving economic growth in Southeast Asia, the fact that they are small and medium enterprises also mean that they encounter difficulties in securing loans from traditional financial institutions. A report by Deloitte states that less than 60% of SMEs in five countries the region have access to bank loans.

Finance Management 
Another key issue SMEs face is the lack of financial literacy or financial literacy tools available to managers.

Improve policy framework to promote consumer finance (Viet Nam News), Rated: A

Experts agreed that the consumer lending market has high potential in Việt Nam, given the low penetration and significant size of the population that remained unbanked and unserved despite increasing income.

Statistics of the State Bank of Việt Nam revealed that total outstanding consumer loans were at VNĐ960 trillion (US$42.1 billion), or 15.7 per cent of the total outstanding loans in the economy, in 2016, of which VNĐ74 trillion was provided by finance companies.

She cited the World Bank’s statistics according to which the population with loans accounted for 46.84 per cent in Việt Nam, but the percentage of population with loan at financial institutions was much smaller at 18.45 per cent.

MENA

Brace yourselves for the future of finance (Khaleej Times), Rated: A

The financial services industry is experiencing a time of unprecedented change. And the principal driver for this change is fintech.

Investment in fintech in the Middle East alone for 2017 was forecast to increase by 270 per cent at the beginning of the year, with this figure expected to rise exponentially in the short to medium-term.

With the number of people owning at least one smartphone in the UAE – forecast to reach 789 million by 2019 – mobile banking plays a large and very important part in our everyday lives. Indeed, research leading up to the annual Gitex Technology Week in Dubai shows substantial growth in the banking habits of the high-earning, always-connected under-35s who require and expect constant mobile banking access.

In addition to mobile banking apps – robo-advisers, peer-to-peer lending and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum – have all played a role in this colossal upheaval of the financial services industry.

HONEST FINANCING FOR TURKISH FARMS (Delano.lu), Rated: A

Tackling the challenges of the underbanked, the EFSE Fund and the SANAD Fund for MSME, advised by Finance in Motion, have partnered with Village Capital and the LHoFT to develop the Fincluders Bootcamp 2017, unique investment readiness program designed for entrepreneurs offering inclusive financial products.

We caught up with founders from each of the 12 selected startups, this time with Mehmet Memecan, founder of Tarfin:

What does ​’financial inclusion’ mean to you?

In farming, you achieve higher profitability by either planting more value-added crops, or plant more acres of the same crop. Both of these options require additional to capital.

Could you describe the mission of Tarfin?

Tarfin uses technology and its vast retailer network to deliver competitive financing options for farmers’ purchases of farm inputs. Farmers can buy fertilisers, seeds and chemicals today, and only pay after harvest. We bridge the financing gap, and we do it at a cheaper rate than what’s otherwise available to the farmer.

What are the unique challenges and opportunities of your home market?

Unfortunately, we have very low financial literacy in Turkish agriculture.

Africa

Ghanian FinTech Bloom Impact attracts Canadian investment (CFO), Rated: AAA

Ghana’s Bloom Impact, a machine learning loans marketplace accessible from smartphones has raised undisclosed funding from Engineers Without Borders Canada, EWB Ventures, an early-stage investor in innovative Africa-based social enterprises.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday October 20 2017, Daily News Digest

Chinese IPOs

News Comments Today’s main news: Betterment achieves private unicorn status. Venmo available at 2 million retailers. PayPal sees profits rise after targeting mobile payments growth. Finova secures $102.5M in equity, credit facility. Lendy investors see 100M GBP in returns. PayKey raises $10M for Asian expansion. Lendex.io plans ICO. Today’s main analysis: Qudian’s IPO underlines China’s fintech appetite. Mind the GAP in the […]

Chinese IPOs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

MENA

Canada

News Summary

United States

Betterment is now valued at $ 1 billion in private market trading (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Betterment, a roboadviser with $11 billion under management, is considered a unicorn in the private markets.

Preferred shares of Betterment are being offered at a price of $11 on EquityZen, an online marketsite for shares of private companies, according to a list of investment opportunities seen by Business Insider. That gives Betterment an implied valuation of over $1 billion.

EquityZen, a four-year-old New York-based company, provides a platform on which private company investors can sell their shares to accredited investors. It serves 20,000 investors and has secured $6.5 million in funding.

Venmo users can now pay at over 2 million retailers (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

PayPal is giving over 2 million retailers in the US the ability to accept Venmo payments, marking the firm’s most aggressive move yet to 

PayPal tops profit estimates, lifts target on mobile payments growth (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Sharp growth in mobile payments led PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) to report a better-than-expected third-quarter profit on Thursday and lift its guidance for earnings through the rest of the year.

The San Jose, California-based payments company has been working hard in recent years to expand its reach to new customers through partnerships and acquisitions, particularly in mobile payments. Those deals are clearly starting to bear fruit, analysts said.

PayPal shares were up 3.9 percent at $69.89 in after-hours trading following the results.

The company’s adjusted profit rose 32 percent during the third quarter to $560 million, or 46 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 43 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 21.4 percent to $3.24 billion.

Its mobile payments volume jumped 54 percent during the third quarter compared with the year-ago period, to about $40 billion. Total payments volume rose 31 percent to $114 billion.

Florida Fintech Finova Financial Secures $ 102.5 Million In Equity & Credit Facility Funding (Crowfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Florida fintech firm Finova Financial announced on Tuesday it has secured $102.5 million in equity and credit facility funding. The financing was led by CoVenture with participation from existing investors.

Finova’s current digital products include its Car Equity Line of Credit (CLOC) and Automobile-Secured Prepaid Card. Its services are available in Florida, California, Tennessee, New Mexico, South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona.

Fundrise Growth eREIT Files to Raise $ 45.7 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Fundrise Equity REIT, or Growth eREIT, has filed with the SEC to raise up to $45,730,440 under Reg A+.  The amount includes $11.8 million from a previous offering circular.

The Growth eREIT most recently paid an 8% dividend.

The first Growth eREIT sold out at the maximum amount under Reg A+ of $50 million.

Investors may purchase shares in the eREIT with at a minimum $1000. Under Reg A+, both accredited and non-accredited investors may participate.

LILY Partners with Affirm to Offer Drone Buyers Pay Over Time Options  (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Mota Group’s LILY® division today announced a new flexible time-payment option, partnering with Affirm to offer shoppers in the United States the flexibility of buying now and making simple monthly payments for their purchases.

This new option is in addition to LILY’s existing payment methods of credit and debit cards, Bitcoin, and PayPal, making LILY the only consumer drone company to offer all five methods of payment.

LILY customers may select Affirm at checkout and view their monthly payments up front before making their purchase. More information and purchasing options are available at www.lily.camera/affirm.

Clearbanc, Michele Romanow work with Facebook for easy small business financing (Financial Post), Rated: A

“The number one thing that prevents entrepreneurs from growing big businesses is access to capital,” says tech entrepreneur and CBC Dragon Michele Romanow. She’s looking to change that for e-commerce businesses.

Today, Romanow’s Clearbanc, which provides revenue-based financing to online businesses, announced a new program with Facebook that will give the social media giant’s five million online merchants across Canada and the U.S. access to up to $500,000 in financing without having to give up any equity or fill out any paperwork or even undergo a credit check.

Facebook advertisers that have been operating for more than six months and are looking for money to grow, and have positive economics on ad spends — meaning when they buy an ad they are making a positive margin on selling that product — can apply online through Clearbanc’s Chrged program, which provides tools to help businesses scale, and connecting their Facebook Ad Account and payment processor.

Perspectives from Around the Industry on CFPB’s Small Dollar Rule (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Sasha Orloff, CEO and Co-Founder of LendUp:

As a socially-responsible lender on a mission to improve credit access for underserved consumers, LendUp shares the CFPB’s goal of reforming the troubled payday lending market. Since our founding, we’ve been a strong advocate for eliminating the predatory practices that have defined the short-term lending market and are pleased that many of these reforms are included in the rule.

At a time when more than half of Americans are unable to access traditional banking products, it is critical that we offer consumers as many safe credit options as possible.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate Credit:

We believe the CFPB got it exactly right with the rule.

The rule will dramatically change the landscape of non-bank, non-prime lending in this country. In addition to reducing the number of payday lenders and title lenders, the requirements for advanced underwriting and reporting will push most of the mom-and-pop, primarily brick-and-mortar lenders out of existence.  We believe that the growing need for non-prime consumer credit will be filled by more sophisticated technology-enabled online lenders.

Lisa McGreevy, President & CEO, Online Lenders Alliance (full response here):

The biggest problem with the rule is the very prescriptive nature for a product that is $500 or less. There is no room for any new products or innovation in this space.

APR is an irrelevant measure for very short term loans like this. The CFPB quotes that more than 80% of these loans are rolled over for another loan within the month. That is unacceptable.

CFPB Consumer Advisory Board to meet Nov. 2 (National Law Review), Rated: B

The CFPB has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that a meeting of its Consumer Advisory Board will be held in Tampa, Florida on November 2, 2017.

Presumably, the loan discussion will focus on the CFPB’s final payday loan rule.

Climb Credit Enters Into $ 130 Million Loan Purchase Agreements (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Climb Credit, a student lending company that expands access to quality education for the new economy, today announced that it has entered into agreements with investors to purchase $130 million of student loans originated by Climb Credit.

The transaction will enable Climb Credit to continue expanding its student loan programs beyond its current network of software development, UI/UX design, robotics, welding, nursing, and other skills-based programs in additional high-earning fields. Climb Credit’s focus is to transform the higher education paradigm by providing better access and affordable funding to students to attend schools that consistently demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI) for their students.

Roostify Unveils New Decision Builder to Improve Pre-Application Consumer Experience and Drive Leads (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced the upcoming release of Decision Builder, a new tool that will enable lenders to easily provide their prospective applicants with a clear, easily-digestible view of their loan options, based on the lender’s actual product and pricing system. The company will be offering live demonstrations of Decision Builder for the first time at the upcoming MBA Annual Convention.

The Decision Builder tool can be placed on a lender’s existing website, and features a handful of dropdown questions, such as the desired loan amount, the expected down payment, and the ZIP code of the house to be purchased. With that information, Decision Builder will generate a series of loan options based on the lender’s product and pricing system, showing the consumer what products and rates they would qualify for. Each option is presented in a visual, easy-to-understand interface with clear explanation of the benefit of the loan product – for example, a lower monthly payment or low total interest. From there, the consumer can more easily evaluate which loan product is right for them.

With accurate, realistic loan information from the lender’s website, the consumer can carefully consider their options on their own time, without the pressure of having to decide within the limited window of an appointment with a loan officer. When they’ve made a decision, the interface includes a convenient option to move forward on their chosen loan with the click of a button.

How consumer banking leaders are embracing AI (American Banker), Rated: A

Artificial intelligence is becoming a competitive advantage that will force institutions to incorporate it, according to participants at the BankAI conference this week.

“People will have to adopt artificial intelligence,” said Brian Pearce, senior vice president of artificial intelligence at Wells Fargo. “It will have to become part of everyone’s set of tools.”

What banks are doing

Wells Fargo is piloting several chatbot technologies, though it has yet to suggest a launch date for any of them.

The bank has a team dedicated to bereavement — they take these phone calls and help executors manage the estates of the newly deceased.

Bank of America

Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America, shared an update on the virtual assistant it announced a year ago, erica. It’s now in use by 300 employees. Sixty percent of the time, employees choose to interact with erica by voice, though they could also use chat, Moore said.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank was one of the first to launch an AI-based virtual assistant two years ago: Ally Assist, which is based on technology from Personetics.

Most people who commonly interact with Ally Assist are heavier transaction customers, Morais said.

The bank is also using AI in the back office. For instance, the bank used robotic process automation to streamline an exception process that had required back-office staff to navigate multiple screens and type hundreds of keystrokes. It now takes three clicks.

BBVA

Robert Sears, executive vice president and global head of product for new digital businesses at BBVA, said the bank is applying AI in credit decisions and focusing on explainability.

The Top 10 Most Affordable MBA Programs In The United States (BusinessBecause), Rated: A

For those studying abroad, organizations like Prodigy Finance—a borderless, peer-to-peer lending platform—provide international, post-graduate loans.

Student Loan Hero looked at 116 of the top American business schools to identify which programs are most financially affordable, taking into account the average debt of graduates, average starting salaries, and annual tuition fees.

Rank Business School Average Indebtedness Percentage of graduates with debt Annual tuition and fees Average starting compensation
1 Lehigh University $0 0 $19,350 $86,667
2 Oklahoma City University $11,331 9 $16,230 $101,090
3 University of Texas —​ Dallas $7,132 25 $19,048 $83,000
4 Missouri University of Science and Technology $11,386 19 $15,402 $66,667
5 Oklahoma State University (Spears) $18,728 22 $12,121 $70,700
6 University of Missouri (Trulaske) $20,495 20 $14,599 $64,252
7 Florida State University $14,379 31 $18,693 $67,308
8 West Virginia University $18,608 33 $9,450 $58,488
9 Louisiana State University—​Baton Rouge (Ourso) $17,900 27 $17,800 $62,429
10 West Texas A&M $18,500 54 $9,600 $93,625

Jay DesMarteau, head of commercial bank specialty segments at TD Bank, said early-stage businesses will often use their funds for operational necessities such as buying inventory and building products.

Isaac Rodriguez, CEO of Provident Loan Society, notes that as a not-for-profit collateral lender, most of his organization’s loans are made for short-term expenses such as meeting payroll.

David Reiling, CEO of Minnesota-based Sunrise Banks, confirmed this trend, noting that many of the bank’s small business customers now use their borrowed capital for technology purchases.

For example, according to a recent survey from TD Bank, 69 percent of small business owners either believe they do not have a business credit score or believe that business credit scores do not exist.

Of course, an alternative lender may be a better option if you want an even smaller loan or if you don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan.

Has Dating Become a Financial Audition? (24/7 Wall St.), Rated: A

Student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU polled 1,000 Americans to discover their personal finance preferences when it comes to dating.

The big question, though, was this one: “Would you consider [annual income, student loan debt, or credit card debt] to be a critical factor when deciding to date someone?”

Just over 30% of respondents said that credit card debt was a critical factor in deciding whom to date, compared with just less than 19% who saw annual income as a critical factor and 12% who saw student loan debt as critical.

OCC’s Noreika: National Bank Charters Should Be an Option for Fintech Firms (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: B

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika today reiterated his view that companies providing financial products and services should be subject to the same regulations and examinations as traditional banks, while emphasizing that a path should exist for these companies to apply for a national bank charter.

Zoinks! 6 Ways Home Buyers Scare Off Sellers (Realtor.com), Rated: B

So, in case you want to make sure you aren’t doing anything that might send up red flags, here are some things buyers do that scare off sellers.

For instance, a new, fly-by-night online lender might give some sellers the heebie-jeebies. So make sure to ask your agent (and also the seller’s agent) whether there’s a certain lender they trust.

Online Lender OppLoans Appoints Data Everywhere Founder Andy Pruitt as New CTO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online lender OppLoans announced on Thursday it has appointed Andy Pruitt to the role of CTO. Pruitt is a hands-on technologist who has helped start and grow three Chicago-area software companies. He isfounder of Data Anywhere, a data management company.

State rolls out refund program, checks on the way (KFOR), Rated: B

CashCall refunds are still on the way.

By the time Wanda took action she had already paid online lender, CashCall, $1800 dollars on an $800 dollar loan and she didn’t even get her loan through CashCall.

The agreement gives the state one million dollars to distribute to customers.

United Kingdom

Lendy has repaid £100m to investors this year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LENDY has announced that it has returned £100m to investors over the last year alone, as it celebrates its fifth birthday this week.

The peer-to-peer property platform said on Thursday that this was a 120 per cent year-on-year increase and that it has now repaid £183m to investors since launch.

Lendy recently announced the repayment of a £7.92m loan, one of the largest seen in the UK’s P2P sector to date. The facility had been repaid ahead of schedule and delivered annual returns of 12 per cent to investors.

First Associates Receives FCA Authorization to Service Loans in the United Kingdom (First Associates), Rated: A

First Associates Loan Servicing announced that they have received Financial Conduct Authority authorization to undertake debt administration and debt collection in the United Kingdom.

In addition to having a stellar reputation for their loan servicing support and being the only loan servicer in their class to earn Morningstar Credit Ratings’ highest operational assessment ranking1, First Associates also offers lending support solutions to their roster of industry-lending clients including:

  • Capital Markets Support
  • Pre-Funding Support
  • Post-Funding Support

IFISA investments ‘to take off’ in 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

2018 MAY be the year in which the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) finally takes off, an industry expert has suggested.

Neil Faulkner, chief executive and founder of peer-to-peer analysis firm 4th Way, noted that the small platforms that have already launched IFISAs have seen massive boosts to their lending volumes, and suggested that the amount of money in IFISAs “will go up many-fold” when the major platforms have their own accounts on offer.

Take-up of IFISAs has been relatively slow so far, with HMRC figures suggesting that just £17m was invested across 2,000 accounts in the 2016-17 tax year, though these have been queried by P2P firms.

Othera ​announces ​new ​contract ​with ​U.K.’s ​Lendhaus (LendIt), Rated: A

Announced ​at ​Lendit ​in ​London, ​Othera, ​a ​blockchain ​software ​provider ​for ​the ​financial ​services industry ​has ​just ​signed ​to ​their ​proprietary ​blockchain ​platform, ​Lendhaus, ​a ​London- ​based ​loan originator ​providing ​syndicated ​lending ​for ​the ​commercial ​real ​estate ​sector.

HSBC launches integrated financial offering through Bud and first direct (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

HSBC UK has announced a partnership with Bud through first direct to offer an integrated offering  of financial services products and tools across the market.

This first direct trial kicks off in December and it includes proprietary algorithms – Market+ – to suggest the most suitable financial and non-financial products and services based on individual needs.

Britain’s fintech BOOMS: Record levels of global investment ploughed into sector (Express), Rated: A

More than £825million has been pumped into the UK fintech since January – double the amount raised in the same period in 2016 – proving the vote to leave the European Union (EU) has not turned investors off Britain.

In fact, since the EU referendum vote, UK fintech companies have raised more than £1billion, according to research by London & Partners.

The capital has been the major winner from investment, receiving around 90 per cent of all venture capital investment.

London-based firms Funding Circle, Revolut and Receipt Bank each raised tens of millions of pounds of investment this year.

3 Ways You Can Use Social Media to Get a Business Loan (NetNewsLedger), Rated: B

There are several online lenders available to offer you loans; they use your social media data to take a decision. Kabbage is the most popular loan landers working online. Kabbage offers the loan to the small businesses and keeps the cash flow in the different businesses. Before giving you the loan, they will ask you to get the access to your social media accounts.

Mark Arnold – a branding expert advises the credit unions and banks check a business credibility and see how effectively they are grabbing the market through social media. These businesses primarily look at different business especially at LinkedIn pages to determine the loan eligibility.

Use some crowdfunding websites to raise money for your business-like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo.Share links to your crowdfunding webpages on your social networks on Twitter and Facebook and motivate people to share on their social networks.

China

Qudian’s New York IPO underlines appetite for China’s fintech (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Qudian, one of China’s largest online lenders, had a debut to remember on the New York Stock Exchange this week. Its shares closed up 22 per cent, making a multi-millionaire of founder and chief executive Min Luo.

The company, which raised $900m in the share sale, is the latest to underline investors’ appetite for the collision of lending and technology that has given rise to the Chinese fintech sector. Two days before Qudian’s debut on Wednesday, Chinese peer-to-peer lender Ppdai announced plans to raise $350m in New York, and at least a dozen similar issuers are preparing flotations.

About 40 per cent of consumers in China make payments online, and 14 per cent have gone on the web to borrow money, according to DBS.

Qudian’s IPO — the fourth-biggest in the US this year — comes on the heels of Chinese online insurer ZhongAn’s hotly received $1.5bn IPO last month in Hong Kong. ZhongAn’s stock is up 34 per cent from its debut.

Source: Financial Times

Wary of online lending, regulators have strictly limited online financial products such as high interest “payday loans” and microloans by capping interest rates at 36 per cent. Last May, new restrictions wiped out scores of P2P lending networks in China, after worries that it was fuelling real estate speculation and subprime lending.

Source: Financial Times

A rash of bankruptcies hits Chinese lenders backed by state firms (The Economist), Rated: AAA

In the past two months at least seven online lenders backed by SOEs have collapsed. It was a business none should have been in, far removed from the industries they were supposed to focus on. The money potentially lost is trivial—roughly 1bn yuan ($150m), compared with government assets worth more than 100trn yuan. Still, these cases highlight how hard it is for the party to stamp its authority on the vast state sector.

The troubled SOEs include distant subsidiaries of the national nuclear company, an aviation company and a big energy company in Shanxi, a northern province. They had acquired stakes, from as little as 20% up to 100%, in online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

They were “marriages of convenience”, says Joe Zhang, chairman of China Smartpay, a financial-services company.

Source: The Economist

Supply chain finance tipped to become US$ 2.27tn market for Chinese internet firms by 2020 (SCMP), Rated: A

China’s supply chain finance sector is now being tipped to be worth a whopping 15 trillion yuan (US$2.27 trillion) by 2020, and the mainland’s booming internet-based businesses are lining up to grab their own share of it.

And despite the reverberations from the recent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending crisis, a marriage between information technology and financial services is continuing to play a vital role in transforming Chinese business.

That 15 trillion yuan figure was calculated by Forward Business, a Shenzhen-based consultancy focusing on studies of IT and other emerging industries, which also suggests mainland banks granted a combined 12.65 trillion yuan in new loans to the budding sector.

But the grim reality remains, that the larger commercial lenders remain belligerently reluctant to grant small loans to businesses and individuals, who present anything like a risk.

Established in 2013, Tiandihui is an online platform where cargo and trucks are matched.

It s network stretches across 50 mainland cities and it handled some 64 billion yuan worth of transactions last year. The company, which charges fees for its matchmaking, has yet to break even.

European Union

Israeli fintech startup PayKey raises $ 10 million to expand in Asia (Tech.eu), Rated: AAA

Israeli fintech startup PayKey has raised $10 million in its Series B round led by MizMaa with participation from SBI Group, Digital Ventures, SixThirty, Fintech71, and The FinLab.

The new funds will be invested in global expansion, namely in the Asian market. Several of the investors in this round are Asian based while the startup graduated from the Singaporean FinLab accelerator.

Mind the GAP in the Lending GAP (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The Lending Gap has been one of the most quoted negative consequences of the financial crisis. Many political efforts have been conducted to stimulate the economy. New business models (e.g., private debt, direct lending, alternative finance, peer to peer) were born with the explicit aim and mission to “fill the gap”.

Where are we today, 10 years after the crisis?  Are borrowers still suffering? What investment opportunities are out there, if any?

  • FACT #1. The lending gap has been reduced, and the drivers have changed.
  • FACT #2. New alternative lending opportunities have opened up.
  • FACT #3. Banks are in better shape today, but exposed to the digital revolution and various structural challenges.
Source: AltFi
  • FACT #4. Credit expansion has resumed since YE 2014.

P2P auto-lending is risking investor ethics and returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE MOVE towards auto-lending among some peer-to-peer platforms may limit interest rates and be a stumbling block for investors worried about the type of businesses they lend to, a European automated P2P firm has said.

Despite being automated itself, Latvia-based Robo.cash has claimed lenders may be missing out on higher interest rates with a passive investment strategy.

As an example, Funding Circle recently moved from manual to auto-lending,now offering a conservation option at 4.8 per cent or a balanced approach at 7.5 per cent.

Australia/New Zealand

Australian marketplace MyDeal.com.au launches fintech loan offering for retailers (Australian Anthill), Rated: AAA

Online retail marketplace MyDeal.com.au has launched business loan offering MyDeal Marketplace Loans to accelerate the growth of their listed retailers.

Retailers who list their products through the MyDeal Marketplace can now apply for a business loan of up to $250,000 directly through their supplier management system and in many cases receive the funding in under 24 hours.

This offering is in partnership with fintech business Prospa, Australia’s leading online lender for small business.

Robo-Advice Decision Will Improve Kiwis’ Financial Fortunes (Scoop), Rated: A

“We’ve long seen the potential for technology to deliver better personalised financial advice to Kiwis,” said Ramesh Naran, Senior Manager, Digital and Innovation at Kiwi Wealth. “With this decision by the FMA, we can go through the application process and turn Future You into the powerful, personalised tool we’ve always wanted it to be. It’s already on its way to becoming the platform that’ll set the industry standard.”

Mr Naran said the FMA’s approach recognises the ability of technology to improve financial understanding and outcomes for New Zealanders.

India

What do RBI regulations mean for peer-to-peer industry (Financial Express), Rated: A

In a much-awaited move, RBI issued guidelines to govern peer-to-peer lending or P2P. This is a landmark decision that will go the distance in achieving the objective of financial inclusion.

For the time being, RBI has advised NBFC P2Ps not to offer or arrange any credit enhancement or credit guarantee. Against this backdrop, the principal protection fund, which has been an exclusive offering of i2iFunding so far, may need some tweaking. At present, we are neither guaranteeing any compensation from the third-party nor are we making a claim of apportioning our capital for the purpose. Therefore, we will approach the regulator to get more clarity on this and would do our best in the interest of members of the platform. Existing investors need not hit the panic button.

Why State Bank of India is afraid of small but nimble fintech companies (ET Markets), Rated: B

More than 24,000 branches and 42 crore customers make the State Bank of IndiaBSE 0.00 % the goliath of all banks by sheer size and physical presence but its new chairman Rajnish Kumar is worried about the competition from nimble fintech companies.

“Today, the risk is the disruption that is caused by the technology ,“ Rajnish Kumar, chairman, State Bank of India told ET in an interview. “We have to be very alert to this challenge. Protecting the turf and meeting the challenges from all the new fintech companies is the priority .“

Wallets and other payment mechanisms have become the preferred mode of payments as people walking into branches have dwindled.

Asia

Kazakhstan’s Lendex.io plans ICO in early 2018 (Blockchain News), Rated: AAA

Founded and developed in Kazakhstan, the biggest economy of Central Asia, FinTech startup Lendex has announced plans for ICO crowdsale to finance the launch of a cross-border P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform for underbanked consumers in Central and South East Asia.

MENA

Transitioning to a digital future in the Middle East (TXF News), Rated: AAA

Global fintech investment has risen phenomenally in recent years – from $3 billion in 2013 to $24.7 billion in 2016.

Although less than 0.1% of fintech investment originates in the Middle East, growing influence from a soaring millennial population, and increasing expectations for digital solutions, are giving rise to a burgeoning number of fintech initiatives throughout the region. In fact, the number of fintech companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to surge – from 105 at the start of 2016 to 250 by 2020. And fintech investment is predicted to grow by 270% in the Middle East this year, indicating the huge potential for digital change –and a strengthening drive to deliver it.

Payments

The majority of fintech innovation so far has been in the payments sector. Although fintech has already made a mark in the retail payments space – with new companies such as the UAE’s Beehive, an online marketplace for peer to peer lending, and Telr, an online payment gateway for emerging markets – effecting change in the corporate sector is more challenging. This is primarily due to the often more complex, cross-border nature of corporate payments and the accompanying regulations and security requirements.

SWIFT gpi already has the backing of over 110 banks across the globe – including BNY Mellon – which represents over 75% of SWIFT’s global payments traffic. The UAE’s Mashreq Bank was the first Middle Eastern bank to join SWIFT gpi earlier this year.

Trade finance and fintech development

AI, for instance, offers solutions to improve documentation flow and cut the need for time consuming processes. Two types of AI that could benefit trade finance are optimal character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR). OCR converts images of paper documents into machine-encoded text, enabling documents used in trade transactions to be verified automatically; while ICR is able to learn and identify patterns of behaviour embedded in trade documentation. These capabilities would both help to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the supply chain.

Canada

They launched their Toronto-based venture, MagneTree Books, in the spring of 2015 with the help of a Kickstarter campaign for presales of their inaugural book.

Neither Josie, who was at the end of a maternity leave, nor Ronny, who worked for a humanitarian aid organization, had much savings to fund their startup or the first run of books, which together rang in at more than $65,000. A bank loan wasn’t an option; neither entrepreneur was in a position to cover the debt if something went awry.

Online sales have been slow – just 15 per cent of their books are sold on the web. But corporate gifting and wholesaling has proven fertile. Still, the company has yet to break even. Profit on a run of books rings up at about $7,000.

But they have a big problem: no cash to fund the second book’s production and marketing. Neither sibling is able to personally lend the company money, and they have begun crowdfunding once more.

Expert advice

Mr. Zakharia notes that the amount of money the siblings need to fund their second book is relatively small at between $7,000 and $10,000. Still, their inability to make a personal loan or secure a bank loan will make them unattractive to traditional lenders. “Banks are going to be very conservative,” Mr. Zakharia said.

One option the pair might consider is Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that might be their fastest route to raising cash. “Because it’s such a small amount, I think it would be pretty easy to raise,” he said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 23 2016, Daily News Digest

challenger banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper’s Q3 results: lowest quarterly volume in 2 years. Insights in Zopa’s Bank plan.   Cashboard raises 3 million Euro. Today’s main analysis : FinTech’s remedy for Brexit pain. London tops FinTech index for second time. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can LaPlanche changes his spots?  What’s next for FinTech? Chinese funding rounds. Will stopping flow of […]

challenger banks

News Comments

United States

  • Is LaPlanche really on his climb back to the top? AT: “I’ve been waiting for someone to say this.”
  • Prosper’s Q3 results. GP:” Lowest quarterly origination in 2 years. Also Prosper gave Colchis warrants for 7% of the company. The Q3 results of Prosper should be compared to Lending Club and OnDeck. Lending Club’s volume were in line with Q3 2015. ”  AT: “Prosper’s situation is different than Lending Club’s. We’re all anxious to see how CEO David Kimball navigates the lender’s turn around.”
  • What’s next for FinTech? AT: “I like this down-and-dirty analysis. FinTech has done some great things. There are more great things to come. I’m looking forward to smart contracts.”

United Kingdom

European Union

  • Cashboard raises 3M Euro. AT: “Cashboard is an independent wealth management company using technology as a tool for better performance.”

China

India

Israel

United States

Can a Laplanche change its spots? (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

The debacle made critics question the viability and transparency of both Lending Club and the industry at large, but the recent performance of marketplace loan ABS backed by Lending Club collateral – and that of other industry players – indicate that both the platform and marketplace lending are here to stay.

Laplanche, on the other hand, has much to prove.

According to published reports, Laplanche’s new team comprises Jeff Bogan and Adelina Grozdanova, the capital market executives that Lending Club fired in the wake of his resignation, which could prompt questions about internal controls and best practices at the executives’ new venture.

Already, Credify has one valuable advantage over Lending Club, in that it’s not under investigation by the Department of Justic and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Thomas Curran – the former Treasury Department official that Laplanche has hired as Credify’s compliance head – should strive to keep it clean.

Prosper’s Climb Back (PYMNTS.com), Rated: AAA

It’s not an easy job — though in fairness to Prosper, their burden these days is not theirs alone. Marketplace lending on the whole has had a rough year — it faced a combination of changing market factors that have broadened investors’ options and the Lending Club meltdown during the spring and summer that has both shaken some confidence in the business model and drawn regulatory scrutiny.

However, while Prosper has not been uniquely hit, it has been very hard hit, and seen massive drops. During the third quarter of this year, Prosper extended $311.8 million in loans — its lowest level in more than two years, according to SEC filings from late last week. That is a drop of 30 percent from last quarter, and a drop of 71 percent from the same time in 2015. Net losses were also up — clocking in at $17.4 million for the third quarter, or over four times as large as the loss the company reported a year earlier.

So the billion dollar question is whether David Kimball, Prosper’s now incoming CEO, can get this ship sailing back on course. Not an impossible task — as marketplace lending has already demonstrated this year, reversals can creep up unexpectedly and fast (though it seems bad ones pull off that trick more often than good ones).

What’s Next For Fintech? (Forbes), Rated: A

So far, the industry’s primary focus has been P2P lending and P2P wire transfers, which have enabled dramatically lower wire fees to crowd funding platforms. But as technology in those key areas mature, and as regulation across the world differentiates, a new era has begun to emerge.

So, what are the new frontier technologies that will push for the next hype in Fintech? Here are some of the more interesting ones:

Robo AdvisorsAlgorithms keep managing the investments to optimize returns and taxes.

Smart ContractsSmart Contracts involves the use of Blockchain technology to validate, negotiate and enforce digital contracts from a distance.

Colored CoinsColored coins is a new technology that puts another layer of information on digital currencies and will allow to easily mint new types of digital currencies for different uses as well as transfer ownership of assets through an extra layer in the blockchain.

However, if US financial regulations continues to weigh, New York City could lose the title as the world’s premier financial capital. Fintech hubs, such as Berlin and Palo Alto, could quickly lose their standing to Zurich, London and Singapore, where Fintech regulation is more friendly.

United Kingdom

Better, boring banking has always been the aim for edgy ‘P2P’ lenders (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Zopa’s “Next Generation” bank will sit alongside the firm’s existing marketplace platform, and offer deposit accounts protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as well as overdraft products. The approval process is expected to take 15-24 months.

In case there were any lingering doubts, this is a clear sign that the pure peer-to-peer model of online lending is very much a thing of the past.

It seems ironic that a market that once seemed a disruptive force in finance, one that positioned itself as vastly different to the banking model, has decided that retail banking is a good thing after all.

But this has always been the goal of online lenders — to do banking better than the high street incumbents, which are weighed down by antiquated IT systems and an expensive branch network. In the early years, the capital-light, low regulation regime provided an ideal incubation environment for lenders to develop the IT systems and underwriting methods that they hope enables them to do credit better than the incumbents.

Fintech’s Remedy for Brexit Pain (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Lenders have proven resilient backers of fintech start-ups — on the principle that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em or, better, buy ’em.

Corporate and strategic participation in European venture capital deals in the fintech industry rose for the third straight quarter in the three months to September, accounting for 26 percent of all transactions, according to CBInsights/KPMG. Meanwhile, overall investments in fintech firms fell to their lowest level in more than a year.

Supposedly disruptive models like peer-to-peer lending have become dependent on demand from traditional financial firms. LendingClub Corp.’s shares recently soared the most since its IPO after the company announced a $1.3 billion loan-purchasing deal with National Bank of Canada. British robo-advisor Nutmeg got the bulk of its latest funding round from Asian financial advisory firm Convoy.

London tops fintech index for second straight year (Business Insider), Rated: A

For the second year in a row, London has topped the European Digital City Index (EDCi), a composite index designed by innovation foundation Nesta and the European Digital Forum, according to on Friday, ranks European cities by how well they support digital entrepreneurship, and how attractive they are to fintech founders and companies.

Sarah Kocianski, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on fintech regulation that explains how regulators in Europe are successfully growing fintech innovation and how it’s becoming a model for regulators around the world.

 

The new software taking on the automated advice market (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Finametrica is a well-known software provider, both in the UK and 20 other countries in which it operates. Unlike many of its peers, it concentrates on one key part of the process: risk profiling.

Plan Plus and Finametrica have announced they will be bringing their partnership to the UK and, from what I have seen, could make a welcome addition to our automated advice market.

Although the UK version of miPlan Plus is in its early stages, the attention to detail in the risk profiling journey is impressive. It addresses many issues the FCA sees as essential, including the risk profile relating to a specific goal, flagging inconsistent answers, and considering the user’s financial experience, understanding and capacity for loss.

Finery adopts Klarna payments for online checkout (Essential Retail), Rated: A

Customers at womenswear e-tailer Finery can now purchase items by entering their email and postcode thanks to the integration of Klarna’s eCommerce technology at the online checkout.

Using this payments method allows customers to avoid inserting lengthy log-in information and card details, while the Pay After Delivery aspect means shoppers have the option of paying for the items up to 14 days after they have received them. Finery sees this as a way of allowing customers to return unwanted items without having to seek a refund.

Royal London: robo services could prove value of advice (Citywire), Rated: A

Royal London has said the rise of self-service, online investment services will make it clearer to the public what an adviser should be paid for.

Simon Massey, wealth management director at MetLife UK, said Tait could be wrong and that robo-services would in fact deter people from seeking advice.

European Union

Berlin startup Cashboard raises €3 million as German fintech momentum continues (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Berlin-based online investment startup Cashboard has raised €3 million (£2.5 million), as Germany’s fintech industry continues to flourish.

Cashboard, a marketplace for investment products, has raised the sum from Digital Space Ventures, a $50 million (£40.2 million) fintech fund headquartered in Luxembourg. Existing investors Redalpine Capital and Earlybird also to part in the round.

Recent figures showed that investment into German fintech companies outpaced British rivals in the third quarter of the year. UK companies raised $78 million in the third quarter, compared with Germany’s figure of $108 million.

China

RRJ Capital leads $ 200m Series A in Jubaohui; iTouzi closes $ 36m Series B (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

The latest in the deals landscape in China has seen RRJ Capital lead a $200 million Series A investmnet in Jubaohui while iTouzi has closed a $36 million Series B investmnet from Sino Fortune.

The Internet finance unit, Jubaohui, was established by HNA Group in 2014 aims to become an integrated full-service online financial platform. Proceeds from the latest investment will fund the development and expansion of its businesses in online micro-credit, crowdfunding, personal credit rating, third party payment and other Internet finance services.

Beijing-based financial technology startup iTouzi has raised RMB250 million (US$36 million) in a Series B funding round from Sino Fortune and an individual investor, Sun Jiexiao. Incepted in 2013, it previously raised $10 million in a Series A from growth equity investment firm Delta Capital in 2015.

Rather that competing with other P2P lending startups, iTouzi acts as an SME finance platform, providing fundraising and guarantee services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), using a P2C (peer-to-corporation) business model.

India

Will curbing flow of black money further fuel FinTech growth? (Dataquest), Rated: AAA

Payments – It is interesting to note that onee of the largest payment wallets in India reported 1000% growth in terms of the amount of money added to the account in days following the demonetization announcement.

Microfinance – As mentioned before, India still has about 21% of the world’s unbanked population, there’s a big opportunity to get every Indian under the formal banking system. Just in Odisha for instance, there are over 70% of Odisha’s gram panchayats bereft of a bank branch. A large part of rural economy works on cash. What if this were to shift towards cashless transactions?

Lending – Globally, peer-to-peer lending is now a $50 billion industry, where consumers and small lenders can lend and invest in small companies. In India though this industry is still in its infancy. However, with the steps to curb black money, and the rising NPAs, there is every opportunity for this sector to outgrow its peers / incumbents. In-fact, in a recently reported survey by IBA, 85 per cent of banks’ reported a risk in their NPA levels in Jan-June 2016.

Climate Policy Initiative reveals green financing tools for India (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

The three endorsed instruments – a rooftop solar financing facility, a peer-to-peer lending platform for green investments, and a currency exchange instrument – were selected from among a highly competitive pool, and refined and developed over the course of a year. They will now move forward for piloting in India, with the support of India Lab’s public and private lab members.

Loans4SME is a peer-to-peer lending platform that would increase access to debt financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives, by connecting them directly with lenders. Loans4SME has the potential to mobilise around $2.2 billion in debt financing for SMEs in renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2022, and thereby help in providing access to finance almost 800 Mw of rooftop solar projects.

VC-backed deals in Indian fintech space decline to five-quarter low (Livemint), Rated: A

Despite the buzz around start-ups working on financial technologies (fintech), investors globally and in India are approaching the sector with caution, a report said.

According to ‘Pulse of Fintech’, a report from CB Insights and KPMG, venture capital (VC)-backed fintech funding fell 17% worldwide to $2.4 billion in the July-September quarter from a year ago, while deal activity fell 12% to 178 deals.

Funding to VC-backed Indian fintech start-ups fell 19% to $127 million on a quarterly basis.

India-Based Fintech Company DataSign Technologies Secures Angel Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Datasigns Technologies Pvt. Ltd, an India-based fintech company behind ShubhLoans, has secured an undisclosed amount during an angel funding round, which was led by former MD of JP Morgan Sanjai Vohra and managing director and India CEO of Goldman Sachs, V. Bunty Bohra.

“Our innovative credit scoring model debunks old ways of lending and ensures optimal credit by holistically assessing overall risk.”

Israel

Fintech co PayKey raises $ 6m (Globes), Rated: AAA

Israeli fintech company PayKey has completed a $6 million financing round. The company, founded in 2014, has developed a system enabling banks to provide peer-to-peer fund transfer services via social networks and instant messaging applications.

The company says that its technology enables secure fund transfers directly from the mobile phone keyboard, while the client is in a social conversation, with no need to enter a designated bank application or fund transfer application, such as an electronic wallet.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor